Sunday, August 29

Fish. Barrel.

DUNNO why it occurred to me to quantify this just now, but among much, much else, on August 28, 1963, participants in the March on Washington:

• Had seen nine-plus years of the Brown decision systematically opposed and legally circumvented across the South, including, at Little Rock, militarily. Two-and-a-half months earlier, George Corley Wallace, elected purely as a racist, had mugged for the cameras in front of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama; in a month he'd be back trying to prevent African-American children from enrolling in white elementary schools.

• Had seen, and felt, the power of the White Citizens' Council, the White Collar Klan, and the governments it controlled, over that same period.

• Had seen, two years previous, the Freedom Riders--brave celebrants of the Brown decision, let's recall--beaten and firebombed with the barely covert assistance of state and local law enforcement. And they'd seen incredibly brave men and women dare to continue the Ride in the face of such violence, and who were themselves then set upon--with the help of local law enforcement--in Montgomery, Alabama. John Seigenthaler was beaten unconscious that day; he was an administrative assistant to Attorney General Robert Kennedy. The FBI knew about the attack beforehand. Freedom Rider John Lewis would be a featured speaker.

• Were six weeks past the burial (at Arlington) of Medgar Evers.

• Could still have been drying off from Bull Connor's firehoses (or treating bites from his police dogs).

• Were four months past Good Friday, when King was jailed in Birmingham, and Sheriff "Gator" Johnson was acquitted by an all-white jury of beating and shooting Charlie Ware while Ware was handcuffed in Johnson's police car.

• Had fought for their country, many of them, in segregated units with white officers in WWII, or in segregated units despite Truman's desegregation order in Korea, until the manpower need there was great enough to transcend military tradition.

• Were often the third generation of African-Americans to've experienced the vast Birth of a Nation-era increase in institutionalized racism across the country, not just in the Jim Crow South; and routinely experienced intimidation legal, quasi-legal, and physical, designed to prevent their voting, working in certain trades, living in White areas, lodging in White hotels, eating in White restaurants, joining certain unions or fraternal organizations, attending some schools, of course, marrying "outside their race", or upsetting the delicate ivory flower of Confederate womanhood by ogling, whistling, or occupying the same sidewalk.

Yesterday's Teabaggers, who shamelessly try to deface the living memory of Dr. King, have, by comparison, lost two consecutive national elections. Without J. Edgar Hoover having anything to do with it.

Would now be a good time to note that disgruntled white people, and especially the racist flotsam and jetsam of centuries of hate, have been carrying on like this for forty years, through the two revolutions, the election of a saint and deficit tripler, and the eight-year Presidency of George W. Bush, deficit quadrupler, which I guess the New York Times would describe as a Religious Rebirth and total clusterfuck? Without accomplishing a goddam thing, except the continual evolution of the techniques by which they imagine they hide their racism?


Murfyn said...

And 'open carry' was not what the participants were known for. That was the other guys . . .

Julia said...

A _lot_ of my childhood friends (I was born the day before the March reached the Lincoln Memorial) were multi-racial, I suspect because Greenwich Village was a safer-than-most place for their parents to live.

All the same, two of them lived in the same building I did, and the police stopped more than once when we were sitting on the stoop to check if they lived in the building. For some reason, they never asked me.

I can never quite encompass the fact that people who have been screwed as thoroughly by the system as Glenn Beck's target audience truly believe that their problem is all the privileges minorities have. Anyone would think they didn't know any...

M. Krebs said...

Beautiful piece, Mr Riley. Sincerely.

Fiddlin Bill said...

Thank you so much for leaping onto this story. The New York Times "report" was appalling. That's a minimalist, nice word for it too. It just shows how degraded and decayed our big-time media really has become, with the erosion of the Right Wing pundits and the various other factors which contribute. I put up a small piece on the Beck event, as I was at the original March on Washington. Your thinking as usual is on the same wavelength, and much more finely detailed. No surprise there: you're Doghouse Riley after all.

Fiddlin' Bill said...

& may I also recommend all of Driftglass's posts for today, including his reposting of Steve Gilliard's "We Told You So," which should be printed in large type and nailed to every wall that reads this blog.

Kathy said...

Those racist dregs would be sitting at home watching "American Idol" or "The Game", or at the nearest Mega Church, being their natural useless selves if it weren't for a massive, incredibly expensive, 24 hour 7 days a week effort by our Wealthy 2% to make them into a Power Block; to use their racism and belief that they are the victims of anti-racist results to make the 2% richer and more powerful than ever.

But even with this incredible effort in time and money and effort, Koch and Fox and their Wall Street cronies have reached less than 1/3 of Americans. More Americans are contemptuous or at least indifferent of the Fox/Corporate Media efforts to turn them into drooling dullards than are brainwashed.

But how many are needed? The WH appears frightened of this minority of losers, and scornful of the 2/3's who are sane.

Right now Obama himself, his band of basterds is doing as much for the conservative/power elite as the 1/3 racist idiots.